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Periphery

a record of mundane things that have stuck in my mind, and what they may mean.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

Rab and Rahma

I'm almost afraid to put this up because I'm really not doing it justice. It had a profound affect on me, which this summary totally fails to capture. I'm going to leave it up so others who attended the class can comment/discuss.

Last class (the same class I talked about earlier) we discussed among other things the question, "should we always be fearful of Allah?"

AM (that's what I'm going to call our teacher) explained that ar-Rahman (the Most Merciful) was the attribute of Allah used most in the Quran. And that even when Allah asks us to be fearful in the Quran, he says to be "fearful of the Rahman." (I'm not sure that AM said that this was the only case, or whether it was one of the cases. I'm going to look up "khashia" and see whether it is always mentioned with "rahma.") He also said that the fear mentioned in the Quran is not vindictive or terror-filled. But instead it is more of a fear of loosing Allah's mercy and his rububia (his "Rab-ness"). Rab, doesn't means sustainer and caretaker, not lord, which is an incorrect definition that too many translations of the Quran use. Lord is more accurately al-malik, another attribute of Allah.

AM also said to consider the order of the verses in the Fatiha:

In the name of Allah, Most Merciful, Most Mercy-giving
Praise be to Allah,
the Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds;
Most Gracious, Most Merciful;
Master of the Day of Judgment.

Judgment is mentioned only after mercy because mercy is the reason for judgment.

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